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President Biden signs bill making Juneteenth, Emancipation Day, a national holiday

June 17, 2021
2 min read
Juneteenth Celebration parade in Denver.
President Biden signs bill making Juneteenth, Emancipation Day, a national holiday
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President Joe Biden signed a new law Thursday afternoon June 17 recently passed by Congress to make Juneteenth, the commemoration of the end of U.S. slavery, a federal holiday.

The legislation, officially named The Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, was approved by the House of Representatives Wednesday in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion, with just 14 nay votes by Republicans. The Senate passed it unanimously a day earlier.

President Biden commenting on the bipartisan nature of the bill said, "I hope this is the beginning of a change in the way we deal with one another."

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The new law mandates that every federal employee gets a day off on June 19. That date is a significant day in American history because June 19, 1865, is when the last enslaved people in the confederate U.S. states learned from Union soldiers in Galveston, Texas, that they were free. This came 2 1/2 years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.

[Note: The remaining enslaved people in two Union border states, Delaware and Kentucky, would not be emancipated until December 18, 1865, when the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery was announced.]

Related: How to celebrate Juneteenth in 2021

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day, is the oldest celebration of African American freedom, and one that is already officially recognized by almost every state in the union. It is a state or ceremonial holiday in 47 states as well as Washington, D.C.

New York and Illinois made it official this year, declaring June 19 a state and school holiday. In years when the date falls on a weekend, it will be observed the following Monday. In recent years, a growing number of corporations have begun to observe Juneteenth with paid days off for employees. They include tech giant Google, carmakers such as GM and Ford, and retailers Best Buy and J.C. Penney.

Featured image by Denver Post via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • Annual Fee

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  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases